THE PEAK body representing women lawyers in New South Wales is launching new achievement awards that it says will help nurture the advancement of the fairer sex in the profession and help celebrate individual excellence.
The Women Lawyers Association of New South Wales (WLA NSW) is calling for the legal community to nominate outstanding women lawyers as candidates for the awards during a three-month period beginning with the official launch on 29 March. Nomination forms will be available at the launch and via the WLA NSW website.
“Our society is governed by the rule of law and women are now integral to that process. With currently more than 50 per cent of law students being women, it is predicated that in the not too distant future the influence of women in society will only increase,” said Lee-May Saw, president of WLA NSW.
Entries will be judged by a panel comprising members from WLA NSW, the Law Society of NSW, the NSW Bar Association, the Attorney General’s Department and the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency. The winners will be announced at an official dinner on Friday, 20 July.
In 2002 WLA NSW hosted a one-off awards night celebrating the then 50 years of WLA NSW. The Association is considering holding these awards on a biannual basis. “This is really significant because what we are trying to do is establish this as a continued program — there hasn’t been anything like this for women in NSW,” Saw said.
There will be three standard award categories. One for a young lawyer with less than five years in practice, one for a practicing government or community lawyer, and one for a practicing private or corporate lawyer. All will have to show that they have achieved excellence in their field of practice.
“What we, as an organisation, feel is important is that the achievements of women lawyers who have not only achieved excellence in their field of practice, but have also made a contribution to the advancement of women in the profession, are recognised,” Saw said.